Winter Layering Tips & Picks

Layering is an art. An art that I didn’t use to practice up until a few years ago because I thought it made me look like a total Bibendum. Clearly, I was doing something wrong. But my many winters in England have forced me to learn and today, I want to share with you my top 5 tips to keep the cold away (all the while remaining stylish of course).

1 - Pile on thin layers, not jumpers. 
This was my first mistake. I thought that piling on stuff that were heavier would keep me warm when in fact, the thin layers are the key. I usually put on a very fitted tank top (so that no cold air can reach my tummy or my back), a long sleeve t-shirt and then finally a jumper.

2 - Pay attention to materials
I never really use to look at the material my jumpers were made of but I’ve come to learn that merino wool and cashmere are the best insulators. For your first layers (the fitted ones), you'll want to avoid cotton and pick synthetic fibers like Nylon or Polyester instead.

3 - Pick your coat carefully
Your coat can really let you down. The pretty ones I see online often end up being paper thin and not protective at all. It’s best to look in-store or to go for my new favourite option: piling on 2 coats. So for example, you could wear a denim jacket or a leather jacket under an oversized coat or a cape (example 1, 2).

4 - Don’t forget to add extra layer on your legs
Beginners mistake #4: piling on layers at the top and forgetting all about the bottom part of the body. Invest in thick opaque tights or merino wool leggings. One thing to keep in mind: keep your trousers fitted, especially if you’re bulking up with a big coat and big jumper. 

5 - Cover your extremities
Don’t let your neck, hands or ankles uncovered or the cold will get in. Invest in a good pair of gloves, chelsea boots or knee high boots, a wool scarf and a stylish hat. Accessories are a great way to make your look most interesting. I personally find you can never go wrong with a fedora hat (and chelsea boots).

In need of investing in some good basics? Here are some suggestions:

Apéro Friday

Happy Friday! I hope everyone had a great week. Work is rather hectic lately so the weeks just seem to fly by one by one. I did promise I’d share with you all some healthy recipes for aperos though and that's exactly what I'm going to do today.

This week, I wanted to talk about dips. I think they're a great options for aperos. They don't take long to whip up and you can prepare them in advance, which saves you time when you get back from work and have to start setting stuff up before your friends arrive. They can also be a great way to get rid of whatever vegetables or herbs you've got left in your fridge at the end of the week. All you need as a base really is some non-fat greek yogurt and some chickpeas.

I prepared 3 different dips:
- A tzatziki (greek yogurt, chopped cucumber, garlic, olive oil & chives)
- A lemon and coriander humous (chickpeas, greek yogurt, garlic coriander, olive oil, lemon juice and lemon zest)
- A green vegetable dip (I literally mixed anything green I had in my fridge: watercress, basil, parsley and spring onions, which I then combined with some anchovies, olive oil and greek yogurt). One warning with this one... It tasted great but was slightly too liquid for my liking so I'd recommend adding something to thicken it a little. Maybe more yogurt?

I will say though that the only thing with dips is that they're healthy providing you don't eat too much of them. In other words, they're good as long as you have them in small quantities. We all know how easy it is to snack on humous and carrots and ending up eating half a pot and being full for dinner (right?). So go for small quantities and serve in small cups. Try and do different ones as well. People like to have some choice and it'll look more visually appealing than a huge bowl of one sort of dip and some crackers on the side.

To drink, I served virgin mojitos (alcohol-free). The recipe is super simple. Mix mineral water, ice cubes, fizzy water, some mint leaves, a tea spoon of brown sugar and a few lime quarters. I heard you can also add apple juice. I've never tried but if you do, let me know!

What about you guys, do you have any healthy dip or cocktail recipes you'd like to share? 

A winter walk at Brancaster Beach

Rich and I drove to the North Norfolk coast today. It was a beautiful day so we thought we’d make the most of it with a walk along the beach in Brancaster and a pub lunch. There are lots of great (and fancy) restaurants in this area but we picked the super low-key Jolly Sailors pub. They had the renowned Brancaster mussels on their menu, which I desperately wanted to try. I’m so glad I did; they were delicious. They’re in season until April so you still have a few months to go if you’d like to give them a try? After that, it’ll be time for lobsters and crabs! 

After our lunch, we went to the beach. I wanted to stay until sunset but it was way too cold. We did have a lovely walk for a while though and it was great seeing the kite surfers getting ready to go at sea. Walking along a beach - no matter what the weather is - might be one of my favourite things to do at the weekend. That and going out for brunch. Something for tomorrow?

Are any of my followers based in Norfolk? I’d love to hear where you like going at the weekend. 

{Lust List} Sophie Hulme Envelope cross-body bag

I haven’t posted anything on my Lust List for a while now, mostly because I kept on falling in love with new items every week or so and it’s not what I want my Lust List to be about. I don’t want to feature my “flash cravings” on here - I have Pinterest for that. I want this list to really be about the things I’ve been lusting over for a long time and that I believe are timeless enough to be worth the investment. 

For me, there is one bag in particular that really stands out despite its very simple and minimalistic look. It’s Sophie Hulme’s Envelope cross-body bag. It’s different from my usual go-to bags, which tend to be on the larger side. That’s because I’m carrying way too many things with me during the day from a lunch box (yes, I have a lunch box) to a laptop or a camera and a diary and this and that… It’s ridiculous. But when it comes to going on a dinner date, out on a girly night or even just out and about when I don’t need to go to the office and carry all my stuff, I realise I don’t currently have a bag that I’d deem suitable. 

I’ve been looking for a cross-body bag for a while now and I just keep going back to this one. Luckily for me, for once, it’s not totally out of reach budget-wise. So time to start saving (and maybe wait for the next sale)!

So what about you, do you have any bags you really like at the moment and that you’re seriously considering splurging on? 

{Apero Friday} Prawn ceviche-like glasses

I'm not going to lie, aperos can be a little fattening. All the charcuterie, the cheeses, the dips, the bread, the alcohol... These aren't things I'd recommend you to eat (or drink) on a too regular basis. But this month, I want to show you that aperos can also be healthy. I'm not talking 2 celery sticks, a spoon of hummus and a bottle of fruit-infused water though. No, that would just be plain boring. I'm talking colourful and delicious appetizers that look good and taste good.

So I'm kicking off the first apero of 2015 with a super simple recipe packed with things that won't damage your waistline. The inspiration came from this recipe by Gina Homolka of Skinny Taste. But as always, I made some small modifications based on personal preferences and what I had in my fridge. The recipe is inspired by the Peruvian dish “ceviche”. It usually consists in raw fish marinated in lime or lemon and some spices. I'm in no way an expert in this type of cooking but I liked the concept so here we go, this is my take on it!

I wanted to use small glasses (they're the size of shot glasses). We call them verrines in french and they're very popular at the moment. It's a great way to pack lots of flavours in just a few spoonfuls. Plus, they look pretty, don't they?

This is what you'll need for 4 glasses:
½ finely chopped red onion
1 small lime, squeezed
½ lemon, squeezed
olive oil
10 cooked prawns, peeled and deveined
1 small avocado, diced into chunks
6 plum tomatoes, diced
¼ cucumber, diced, not peeled
a small handful of shredded iceberg lettuce
1 tsp of chopped chives
2 tsp of chopped parsley
Flor de sal (corse sea salt)
Black pepper

Quantities can easily be doubled or tripled if you wanted to do this dish a main, for lunch for example. Make a big tub of it and take it to work with you the next day.

Here's what you have to do to make your verrines:
1/Start by combining in a small bowl your red onion, lime juice, lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil, pinch of your flor de sal and pepper. Mix well and let your ingredients marinate for 5-10 mins.
2/ Grab a large bowl and combine your prawns (keep some to put at the top of the verrines), avocado, tomato, cucumber, chives, parsley, another pinch of salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Gently toss.
3/ Add in your onions and juice mixture, which should now be ready. Toss again. Taste and see if you want to add more salt, pepper, maybe some fresh red chili?
4/ Take your verrines and put some of your shredded lettuce at the bottom. Top with a few spoonfuls of your vegetables and fish. Add your prawns at the top to decorate.


I served my verrines with vegetable crisps (not that low cal but still better than regular crisps), a few plum tomatoes and a bottle of wine (you don't have to finish it). Stay away from cocktails, they're the worst, apart maybe from bloody marys but this wouldn't work with this dish anyway. If you do go for wine, this is a citrusy fishy appetiser so you'll want to go for a white wine.

Hope this helps! See you next Friday for another recipe and more tips on how to keep your aperos on the healthy side!